The Dreaded Red Light

red light

When you’re running on the roads, do you stop at all the red lights? And if you do, are you running in place waiting for the light to change?

I’m not advocating crossing the road on a red light of course because you could get hit or get a ticket from a well-meaning police officer concerned about your safety and ability to run the next day.

However, I’m also a realist and know that many runners and cyclists blow through red lights. If you are going to run through a red light, check to make sure the intersection is clear. Don’t rely on someone ahead of you to check the intersection. Ever. Check for yourself and make sure you have enough time to make the crossing or that there is no car in sight. Remember to check for those who are making a right turn on red as well.

Runners who run through reds should be well lighted and easy to see regardless of the amount of light out. Wear a reflective vest, day and night. More importantly, wear both a head light and tail light from dusk until dawn. The early morning hours when light is creeping across the sky and the early evening when the sun is going down are the times when the light makes it the most difficult to see as a driver.

Alright, so if you do stop on every single red light, should you stand still or run in place so your heartrate does not drop?

I see runners do both. I don’t run in place waiting for the light. You’re not standing there long enough for your heartrate to drop by more than a beat or two a minute. You’re body temperature won’t drop that much either for those runners who are worried about getting cold in the winter months.

The only time I consider running in place is when it hurts to start back up. As an ultrarunner sometimes it is just hard to get back going. At those times, I will be the one on the corner running in place.

I don’t stop my garmin either. One of my training partners stops his garmin every time we stop running and he forgets to restart it about half the time. It’s silly to stop it to use the bathroom or wait for a light. These things happen during runs and races, so get over it.


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